Free Downloadable Print to Celebrate 21 Secrets: Create and be Happy

It’s time to celebrate! Monday I wrote about the very first class I’ll be teaching online, Passion for Patterns, as part of the 21 Secrets art journaling workshop. This will be a totally new endeavor for me, not to mention a milestone, so I’d like to do something special for everyone.

To share my enthusiasm for this new experience, I drew a festive pattern and added a phrase that sums up the tone of my workshop, and also kind of my life’s philosophy.

Create and be Happy

I would love to share with you a free printable version of this encouraging message!

All you have to do is:

  1. Visit the 21 Secrets Spring 2015 workshop page by clicking on this link and check out the workshop descriptions.
  2. Comment here with any class title other than mine that looks especially fun to you.
  3. Be sure to include your best email when you fill out the form and write your comment so I can send you your print.

Once I receive your comment, I’ll use the email you provided to send you a free digital copy of the “Create and be Happy” print.

Create and be Happy

The file you get will be high resolution and printable up to 5×7 inches, so it’ll be easy to pop into a standard size frame, or you can hang it up poster style like I did with a couple of pieces of washi tape. You could even paste it into your current sketchbook or art journal!

The email you provide when you fill out your comment will not be shared on this site at all. However, if you prefer, you can also email me directly if you’d rather not comment here or don’t want to leave your email with your comment. Email me at aisforanika@gmail.com, and I will happily send you a copy of the print.

Also to be clear, you do not have to sign up for the e-course in order to get this free print. I only ask that you go check out the 21 Secrets Spring 2015 class page, because it’s a great way to see the details of the class I’m teaching, plus, it’s a chance to browse all the classes and learn about 21 creative folks you might not be familiar with yet.

I hope you will enjoy this print and that it can add a bit of color and inspiration to your creative space!

I’m a 21 Secrets Teacher!

I’m so excited that I can finally tell you: I’m a 21 Secrets Teacher!

21 Secrets On Sale Now
Can you spot my pattern in the image above? Hint: it has a blue background!

If you’ve never heard of 21 Secrets, to sum it up, I’ll be one of 21 teachers sharing an art journaling “secret” in a big online group e-course. My part of the course will be a workshop called, “Passion for Patterns”. If you want to find out more, check out the details on the 21 Secrets website.

Registration starts today, although you’ll have to wait until April 1, 2015 to take Passion for Patterns, since that’s when the class actually starts.

If you think you might be interested in signing up for the course, I do want to let you know that during the pre-sale that starts today, they have some great deals going on. The first 150 people to sign up get the class for just $69 which is almost $30 off! The next 150 can get the class for $79, and the next $89, after which the full price is available at $98 which is still a steal at less than $5 per individual workshop!

I’ve been wanting to teach an online class for a while now, and I’m so happy to be able to make my debut alongside a wonderful group of fellow creatives.

I would love for you to check out the 21 Secrets workshop page and tell me what you think. My workshop is the very first one in the list (thanks to my name starting with A!), so it will be easy to find the description for Passion for Patterns. I have a lot of really fun plans for my class, and I’d be totally thrilled if you decide to take the workshops and have a 21 Secrets journey with me!

One more thing I want to be upfront about is that all the links that I’m sharing that go to the 21 Secrets page are affiliate links. If you use them when signing up, I really appreciate it since I get a percentage of the sale, which is how I get paid for my workshop! If you plan to register, I’d be very happy if you chose to use my link. :)

Inspired by Long Skinny Paper

My friend Liz Nugent recently gave me the coolest pad of paper. I just love it. The paper quality isn’t the best and there are lines across it (which I tend to avoid), but it sparked a bunch of creative ideas for both me and Liz because: It’s really long and skinny.

I couldn’t wait to let my mind wander and doodles some shapes.

Watercolor Doodles

Here are several drawings of dragons by Liz on the same paper:

Artwork by Liz Nugent

Aren’t they the cutest!? Here are some plants by Liz too:

Artwork by Liz Nugent

If you’re curious, the dimensions of the paper are 1.75″ x 11″. It’s amazing how such a simple change, like using an unusual sized paper can inspire so many new ideas. Now I’m thinking of all those scraps I’ve tossed over the years from cutting down paper. If only I’d known! I’ll certainly be keeping them in the future.

Liz is a wonderful illustrator who I’m honored to call a friend. If you want to check out more of her work, please visit Liz’s website or say hi to Liz on twitter!

I Have a Secret!

I have a secret!

I can’t tell you the details just yet, but for now I can say that I’m very excited about it and it’s going to be a lot of fun!

Stay tuned next Monday, November 17, when I can finally spill the beans!

Inktober 2014 Wrap Up

Here is a bunch of my Inktober patterns from throughout the month in a grid:

Grid of 25 of the 31 patterns I drew for inktober!

Here are a few individual drawings from the second half of the month:

Inktober Day 17

Inktober Day 23

Inktober Day 24

Inktober Day 26

They make a bold impression, don’t you think?

I’m planning to put together a group of repeat patterns based on these sketches. There are a few that I’m just dying to see in color!

Rethinking Embedding Instagram Photos

If you read my post from yesterday, you’ll know I was excited to find out that you can embed photos directly from instagram.

As with many things, even if you can, it’s good to find out if you should.

My friend Robyn emailed me with some really important feedback. While browsing her Feedly feed, she noticed that when she saw my post, she couldn’t see the image. Since I specifically talked about including an image, she knew it was probably there, so she clicked over to my site. I was curious, so I checked my Bloglovin feed, and also noticed that no photo showed up in the preview. For anyone who follows me with Feedly, Bloglovin, and probably other RSS feeds, they might not have the same incentive to click through without seeing a preview of the image in their feed.

For me this is a deal breaker, so for now I’ll stick to uploading photos to Flickr and linking them from there.

Here’s the same image from yesterday, linked from Flickr, in case you missed it:

Doodles on Watercolor

It looks a lot better than the embedded instagram photo anyway!

It’s good to try out new things, but it’s even better to find out what really works best! Thank you Robyn!

Embedding Instagram Photos

Today’s internet meanderings led me to find out that you can embed Instagram images into a website or blog (click here for simpler directions)! I’ve been embedding images from Flickr for a long time, and I’m excited about being able to do this for Instagram as well, especially since I’ve been thinking about featuring other instagram accounts/photos that inspire me.

Here’s a recent watercolor doodle from Instagram:

A photo posted by Anika Starmer (@aisforanika) on

I don’t know how long this feature has been available, but it was a great discovery for me. Although I don’t think I’ll regularly use this tool to share my own photos (not crazy about the border and the text around the image), I think it’s perfect for featuring other Instagram users since their account will be automatically linked and the “follow” button is included.

There is an option that allows you to either include or leave out the caption, which I also appreciate. It’s good to have a choice!

Are you as excited about this capability as I am? Do you think you might embed some IG photos on your blog or site?

Inktober 2014

For the last 17 days I’ve been drawing one floral pattern a day for #inktober. Although I was aware of Inktober last year when a few friends participated, I was in the thick of my daily pattern project and decided to challenge myself to paint on colorful backgrounds. So, this is the first time I’ve participated in this fun project that was started in 2009 by Jake Parker.

I decided to use one brush pen for the month, and I have to say, I’m really loving it. Sometimes limitations are just what you need to stretch creativity into a different direction. I’ve been enjoying the variety of lines and marks I can draw with just this one tool.

Bold or dainty strokes:

inktober day 4

inktober day 2

Controlled detail or expressive shapes:

inktober day 9

inktober day 10

The expressive quality of the line can be so lovely when using a brush pen. It’s also been eye opening to work with both thick and thin lines:

inktober day 15

I’m tagging all my drawings with #inktoberpatterns to make it a little easier to find. If you care to join in, there’s still about a half a month to go!

Index Card a Day 2014: Part 2

I did it! I successfully completed one piece of index card art per day in June and July!

Actually I finished many more than the official 61, so I might have to do an “extras” post on top of this one. Here are a few of my favorites from the second half of the challenge.

Day 49 ICAD

Day 41 ICAD

ICAD Day 32

Day 45 ICAD

When I started this challenge, I took it on as something fun and easy to do. I wasn’t expecting that it would be a creative boost for me on top of the fun and easy part. Because index cards are such a small surface to work on, when I had extra time, I would put more effort into that day’s card. Even when I had something that could pass as a finished piece, I often felt like taking the card a step further. Because of this, I created layers of texture with paint, markers and pens, or added detailed embellishment with pencil or pen. I even dabbled with collage.

I’ve started applying the new creative ideas from the cards I made to some recent larger paintings, and it’s really moving my work in an exciting new direction. Already can’t wait for next year!

Index Card a Day 2014

Last year I participated in the last half of Index Card a Day (ICAD) while I was in the thick of my daily pattern project. I decided to combine the challenges for the month of July, and I had a lot of fun making patterns with markers on simple index cards. ICAD is hosted by Tammy from Daisy Yellow and runs every year in June and July, and this year I decided to join in for the whole run.

It’s already been a little over a month, and I thought it would be fun to share the cards I made in June.

All ICADs made in June

Part of what made ICAD such an attractive challenge to join last year was that I really needed something low-key after a super busy June. I kept it simple and only used a set of Zig Writer markers for all the cards. Since I wasn’t strictly focusing on patterns this year, I took a fresh approach to the challenge: “anything goes”. So far I’ve used acrylic paint, gouache, watercolor, sharpie pens, prismacolor fine liners, acrylic paint markers, ball point pens and pencils. I’ve explored a variety of styles, techniques and subject matter. There has been plenty of experimentation leading to several creative and exciting “aha! moments”.

There is still a little less than a month of the challenge left. If you are interested in making some index card art, you can join any time. Find more information on the ICAD section of Tammy’s blog or check out the #icad2014 tag on instagram or twitter!